What is specialist housing

Types of specialist housing explained

Specialist Housing is a term used to describe housing that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of people with particular needs.

It can refer to housing that has been purpose designed or designated for a particular client group to assist tenants to live independently. This may include people with physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health issues and is sometimes referred to as 'Supported Housing'.

Specialist Housing can also refer to housing designated to meet the needs of older people. This is characterised as housing that includes special design features and/or access to support to assist tenants to live independently for as long as possible in their own home.

Supply of Specialist Housing in North Lanarkshire

There are over 2,000 specialist properties in North Lanarkshire, provided by both North Lanarkshire Council and other housing providers. The majority of these properties are sheltered housing with 1,810 sheltered homes provided across North Lanarkshire (86%). Very sheltered and amenity housing accounts for the remaining 14% of specialist properties, with 143 very sheltered homes provided (7%) and 150 amenity homes provided (7%).

The majority of the specialist stock in North Lanarkshire are 1 bedroom homes, with 80% ( 1,683)of all specialist homes being 1 bedroom properties. Larger sized properties account for the smallest proportion of specialist properties, with 0.5% (12) being 4 bedroom properties and 2.7% (57) being 3 bedroom properties. Bedsit properties account for 8% of all specialist stock in North Lanarkshire.

Support may be on provided through on site staff or through visiting staff (floating support).

Specialist housing is provided by both North Lanarkshire Council and other housing providers, such as housing associations and cooperatives in North Lanarkshire. There are mainly three types of specialist housing available in North Lanarkshire, amenity housing, sheltered housing and very sheltered housing. Definitions of what these types of housing provide are detailed below:

Amenity Housing

Flats or houses that meet the needs of older people or people with a disability. The properties differ from mainstream housing in that they are normally designed with special modifications or specifications to meet the needs of people with particular needs. This can include lower light sockets, additional hand rails and/or special bathroom or kitchen features. There is no on site support provided.

Sheltered Housing

A group of self contained properties designated for older people that are linked to and supported by sheltered housing support staff. The support staff provides housing support to tenants to assist them live independently. This can include assistance with completing forms, reporting repairs or maintaining contact with other agencies such as Health and Social Work Services. Support is provided 24 hours per day through on site support staff and emergency call/alarm systems.

Sheltered housing may have special design features that make it more suitable for older people (but not always as standard) such as level access showers, hand rails and/or special bathroom or kitchen features.

There are usually communal facilities on site in which a range of social activities take place for tenants.

Sheltered Housing is designed for older people:

  • whose current accommodation no longer meets their needs. This may be because their current accommodation cannot be adapted to meet their needs or in some instances may not be feasible in terms of the cost entailed.
  • and/or require some support with daily tasks to live independently.

Older people refer to applicants aged 60 or over (or in the case of joint applicants one of the applicants must be 60 or over). However, under exceptional circumstances applicants under the age of 60 may be considered if they can demonstrate that they meet all other elements of the eligibility criteria for sheltered housing and that it would be considered an appropriate housing option for the applicant.

Sheltered Housing in North Lanarkshire is accessed by completing a Common Housing Register application and completion of a Sheltered Housing Assessment. This assessment is carried out by the local area housing office staff and seeks to identify the applicant's level of need of this type of accommodation.

Very Sheltered Housing

A group of self contained properties designated for older people that are linked to and supported by very sheltered housing support staff. Similar to Sheltered Housing, Very sheltered Housing provides support 24 hours per day through an on site staff support team and emergency call system (). It usually has a greater level of on site support than Sheltered Housing, and normally has a small staff team that deliver the support. It is designed to meet the needs of people who require a greater level of support than can be provided at sheltered housing.

Applicants must be in housing need. The present living situation may no longer be suitable because they:

  • are unable to remain living in their current home even with the delivery of community care services such as home care and community nursing and/or,
  • those who would without the provision of this accommodation would have a requirement for long stay residential care.

Applicants will also usually require assistance with their daily living tasks, and/or their personal care.

It offers meal provision for tenants (generally 2 meals per day) to help ensure tenants receive their minimal nutritional value. This can be provided via on site or off site catering facilities. It also provides an enhanced level of special facilities for tenants. This can include assisted bathing facilities; hairdressing and hobbies rooms; enhanced communal and dining areas, storage areas for equipment such as electric scooters or wheelchairs. Can have access to domestic services also.

Usually has specialist design features such as level access showers, or wet floor shower areas.

As above, the definition of older people is applicants aged 60 or over (or in the case of joint applicants, one of the applicants must be aged 60 or over).

Very sheltered housing in North Lanarkshire is accessed via completion of a Common Housing Register application and completion of a Community Care Assessment by Social Work Services. The Community Care Assessment seeks to identify whether the applicant has a requirement for Very Sheltered Housing.

Referrals for Very Sheltered Housing can also be made direct to the Very Sheltered Housing Allocations Panel. All applicants referred however, will be required to complete a Common Housing Register application and participate in a Community Care Assessment carried out by Social Work Services.

Referrals can come from a variety of sources, the applicant themselves; Health Services; Housing and Social Work Services; Voluntary Agencies; Carers or Relatives; or other Registered Social Landlords.

For more detail on the eligibility criteria please see our nominations arrangements.

All of the Very Sheltered Housing accommodation in North Lanarkshire is managed by Registered Social Landlords, namely Hanover Housing Association, Trust Housing Association and Bield Housing Association. For this reason we have nomination agreements in place which outlines the processes and principles of nominations and allocations for Very Sheltered Housing in North Lanarkshire. Similar to Very Sheltered Housing it has a range of unique design features, making it suitable for older people.

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